Berwarî: "Great dangers lie ahead for Iraq and South Kurdistan"

Dr. Kamuran Berwarî sees Iraq as the scene of a reckoning between regional and international powers and warns of great dangers for Iraq and South Kurdistan.

On 10 October 2021, early elections took place in Iraq due to three months of massive protests. The result of the election was highly controversial and so the parliament could only convene on 9 January 2022 and elect the speaker of parliament and his two deputies. The Sunni politician and businessman Mohamed al-Halbousi was again given the post of parliament speaker, and his first deputy became the Shiite politician Hakim al-Zamli, who is close to the Shiite militia leader and politician Moktada al-Sadr, and the KDP politician Şaxewan Abdullah.

Interviewed by ANF, Dr. Kamuran Berwarî, lecturer at Duhok University, evaluated the developments in Iraq and South Kurdistan (kr: Bashur) after the elections.


Dr. Berwarî emphasized that the current state of affairs in Iraq is the result of an agreement in 2021 between the Kurds and Sunni Arabs and other powers in Jordan-Amman, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. This agreement also shaped the election results, which do not represent the will of the Iraqi people, considering the low turnout at the elections.

Dr. Berwarî addressed the recent agreements and the dangers they entail: “These agreements are against the interests of the people of Kurdistan and Iraq. They are based on a bargain between some internal forces and Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr. This deal could give rise to serious problems, including a civil war in Iraq. The current policies and agreements have divided the Kurds into two or three parts, and the same holds true for the Sunnis and Shiites. The Kurds may end up the biggest losers because they have not done anything for themselves in the last 20 years (since 2003).


Dr. Berwarî noted that troubles have already started to emerge, because the parties remain unable to reach a consensus in the Assembly. “Some are happy with the present situation. Some are openly against it. At least 170 parliamentarians are needed to constitute a majority in the parliament. A government which will be formed with the support of 170 parliamentarians will be able to make decisions for Iraq and the Iraqi people, yet it remains uncertain whether to reach this number.”


Dr. Berwarî underlined that the approval of America, Europe and some regional powers is required for the establishment of a new government and the functioning of the Assembly. “Recently, the regional powers such as Iran and Turkey are engaged in a conflict with the US and Europe. These conflicts have existed for a long time, but they have escalated recently. Attacks on some locations, especially the positions of the US and the International Coalition in Baghdad and Kurdish and Arab political parties have appeared as part of the existing conflicts. This situation may escalate more seriously, and that is the danger.”


Dr. Berwarî pointed out that the first session of the Assembly gave very strange and remarkable messages. “Some of them were wearing their national clothes. The slogans chanted by some went beyond the Parliament. Some were even wearing clothing that symbolized shroud. They wanted to render the message that they were ready for war and death. Based on the current situation, it seems very difficult for a national government to be formed in Iraq.”


Dr. Berwarî also made remarks about the KDP's presidential candidate and a possible prime minister: “Sadr, too, does not support the KDP's candidate, Hoşyar Zebarî. 36 parliamentarians who oppose Zebari's candidacy have already issued a declaration. However, the presidency of the Assembly, the prime ministry and the presidency could eventually remain as they are. In this case, it seems difficult to change these three top seats.”


Dr. Berwarî pointed out that the withdrawal of the US forces may lead to serious problems. “Will those to come to power after the US withdrawal be able to govern? Will they be able to take some steps that promote peace, freedom and democracy? This doesn't seem likely. On the contrary, more serious crises, chaos and even clashes are very likely to arise. The Bashur and Iraqi peoples have already been adversely affected by the ongoing crisis. However, the Bashur administration does not lend an ear to the people,” Dr. Berwarî added.


Emphasizing the legitimacy of the people's demands, Dr. Berwarî pointed to the partnership between Turkey and Russia which concerns north-eastern Syria and Bashure Kurdistan. “Turkey and Russia are working on a railway project that will cover a route from Iraq-Syria to the United Arab Emirates. The US and the International Coalition oppose this project. Many Iraqi forces do not accept this either. On the other hand, some Sunnis are working to put Iraq under Turkish sovereignty. The convening of the assembly was the outcome of an agreement between the former anti-Shiite Baathists and circles close to Turkey.”